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About Puerto Plata

Affordable ocean-facing beach hotels hem the shoreline with world-class windsurfing, snorkelling and diving – not to mention whale-watching. Meaning ‘Port of Silver’ in Spanish, Puerto Plata was founded in 1502, but owes much of its charm to pastel-coloured Victorian-era architecture and a handsome seaside boulevard. A popular gateway to the rest of the North Coast resorts; the mountains, cigar factories and ceramic-makers out to Santiago; and the jungles of Jarabacoa.
Music-drenched Puerto Plata is a haven of dance halls and bars that attract salsa bands and merengue stars from all across the Caribbean.

Sightseeing:

Historical attractions and cultural sights in and around Puerto Plata, from the 16th-century harbour close to San Felipe Fort to the Caribbean’s only aerial tramway. Atop the mountain a replica of Christ the Redeemer (the famous statue in Rio de Janeiro) holds court high above Puerto Plata. Other attractions include the pre-Columbus collection at the Taino Art Museum and the Amber Museum; a fine exhibit that includes the piece used in Jurassic Park.

Highlights:

• Ocean World, Cofresi
• Parque Historico La Isabela
• Isabel de Torres National Park
• Playa Dorada (Dorada Beach)
• Playa Maimon (Maimon Beach)
• Parque Nacional del Este
• Playa Luperon (Luperon Beach)

Tourist information:

Dominican Republic Tourism
18-21 Hand Court, London WC1V 6JF, UK
Tel: 020 72427778 / Fax: 44-20 74054202
Website: www.godominicanrepublic.com

Shopping introduction:

Dubbed the Amber Coast for its plentiful deposits of the semiprecious stone, Puerto Plata’s shoreline stalls sell an eclectic range of amber trinkets, jewellery and crafts. In the city, some fine boutiques specialise in amber-set silver jewellery, larimar (a Dominican turquoise) and inlaid creamy-blue and baby-pink shell. Pieces of conch shell are also made into jewellery. Other locally made must-buys include cigars, pottery, coffee, rocking chairs, carved woods, macramé, Taino artefacts, Creole dolls, basketry, Haitian paintings and limestone carvings. Music-loving Puerto Plata is also a great place to pick up inexpensive CDs of salsa and merengue – but don’t be afraid to haggle.

Restaurants:

Culinary specialties revolve around simple fare that stems from native Antillean and hearty Creole recipes. Dishes have a distinctly Latin American flavour with rice, seafood, meats and fresh vegetables cooked in light spices and coconut. Typical dishes range from Sancocho prieto (a thick soup of seven meats, including goat); arros con marisco (seafood & rice) and mangu (mashed plantains) – washed down with rum or El Presidente beer.

When to go:

Hot with tropical temperatures all year with coastal areas being warmer than central regions. There are two rainy seasons; the heaviest is from May to August and the other is from November to December. Hurricanes may sometimes occur during these periods.

Nearest destination:

Willemstad.

Transfer distance:

1.5km (0.9 miles).

Transfer time:

Willemstad.